Let me first apologize for the long post and many questions. I know most of these answers can be found on TA and would normally do all of my own research here but my travel partners and I are ridiculously busy with work right now. We do have a few months to figure out the details but if I can get some advice meeting up ahead of time, it’ll make everything so much easier. I’ll throw our plan out there and hope for the best!
The three of us will be up in Madrid and then flying to Marrakech on 11/28/12. We’re all set as far as Riad there. We plan to stay 4 nights. From there, we want to drive to Merzouga with an overnight in Ouarzazarte. We plan to do an overnight in Erg Chebbi and then drive on to Fes with an overnight somewhere along the way to break up the drive. Then, a few days in Fes/Meknes, and then on to Rabat for one night and then fly back to Madrid and on to our respective homes. A total of 12 days on the ground in Morocco.
Originally, we had planned to rent a car at the end of our stay in Marrakech and drive ourselves the rest of the way, leaving the car at the airport in Rabat. We are all seasoned travellers, DIYers and want to be able to stop on a whim and spend as much or as little time at any given place, particularly between Marrakech and Merzouga.
Here come the questions:
• We don’t really need a car after Merzouga (I don’t think) but I assume we cannot rent a car for this one way trip. Correct? Can we hire a car and driver to take us one way? If so, what should we expect to pay for the drive with an overnight in Ouarzazate (assuming we will pay for driver’s room and meals and probably his return trip as well)?
Once at the desert, do we even need a hotel? Seems crazy to rent rooms that we will not be sleeping in. One thought was to get just ONE room so we can store our luggage and have a place to shower, etc. when we return in the morning.
What is the best way to get from Merzouga to Fes if we decide to go with a driver vs. renting a car? The overnight bus? A grand taxi? If we do this, are we missing out on much in between? While I am always fascinated driving though other countries, it seems that outside of the Cedar Forest, there isn’t a “can’t miss” town or site on that part of our route.
While in Fes, we’d like to go to Volubilis…I know there’s not much left there but we’re trying to hit as many ‘1000 Places to See” and UNESCO sites as we can. If we don’t have a car, how would we get to Meknes for the day?
Lastly, the primary reason we were going to go on to Rabat is because I can’t seem to find any direct flights from Fes to Madrid (we all used miles to get from the US to Spain and plan to buy the MAD – Morocco flights separately as they are pretty cheap). From what I can tell, we’d have to fly with a stop in Casa which turns a 2 hour flight into 6 hours and that is a pain. Ideally, we’d fly direct from Fes to MAD and that would buy us a couple of extra days. I’d put one of them out in one of the towns near Merzouga. Is there a direct flight that I am somehow missing?